Premier Kathleen Wynne revealed Friday that a former Liberal member of the legislature was asked to resign in 2013 after workplace sexual harassment complaints were made against him.
Wynne had been under increasing pressure this week to name caucus members she has had to discipline over accusations of inappropriate behaviour, after she admitted there have been a “couple instances.”
She said Friday that human resources staff received sexual harassment complaints about then-MPP Kim Craitor and an investigation led by an independent third-party expert was launched.
“When the issues were first brought to Mr. Craitor’s attention, he indicated his willingness to resign his seat if his conduct was found to have been sufficiently serious,” Wynne said after a hospital funding announcement in Ottawa. “When the results of the independent investigation were received, I determined that action indeed needed to be taken and Kim Craitor was asked to resign.”
Wynne said that is how such issues are dealt with under her leadership.
“If a sexual harassment complaint is made against a Liberal MPP and an independent investigation determines that serious misconduct has occurred, then that MPP will no longer serve in my caucus,” she said.
The premier would not say who else in her caucus she has had to discipline. She said it is not her place to identify an affected politician, and she named Craitor only because a woman identified herself to the media.
Messages left for Craitor at his office, on his cellphone and through email were not immediately returned, but he told the Niagara Falls Review that the allegations were “unfounded and unsubstantiated.”
“They were not true. The sexual harassment complaints took me completely by surprise and caught me off guard and shocked me,” the Review quoted him as saying in an email to the newspaper.
“I did not want to resign. I had done nothing wrong. I told the party that. Nor was the party able to prove that any such complaint had happened. They, the party, said that it was their job to protect the premier, and that to do that I had to resign. There was never any complaint to the police, just to the party and they took care of it in their own way.”
Craitor alleged to the paper that the complainants signed non-disclosure agreements and that the Liberal party “paid them to keep the allegations quiet.”
The premier’s office said later that Craitor’s comments are untrue.
“It is false to state the party paid any complainants to stay quiet,” spokeswoman Jenn Beaudry wrote in a statement.
“Where a complainant suggests that a confidentiality agreement be part of a resolution, we of course agree to that. If the circumstances of a complaint are such that the employee reasonably does not want to continue in the employment, then any severance arrangement will reflect those circumstances, as well as any other relevant factors.”
When Craitor resigned in 2013 he said he needed to put his “health and family first.”
He was a municipal politician in Niagara Falls before entering provincial politics and has since returned to sit as a city councillor there.
By Allison Jones, The Canadian Press